I’ve been going through our sentimental objects for the last part of the Kondoing process, and I happened to find this mystery story that I wrote as a child, probably around age 7 or 8. I thought you all should get to experience this literary masterpiece, heavily influenced by both the Little House on the Prairie and (especially) the Encyclopedia Brown series, complete with a solution based on a random piece of trivia.
I’ve lightly edited the story to fix some spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors for ease of reading and added some current-day commentary footnotes.
THE STOLEN HORSE
by Mary Speckhard
Once there was a little girl named Florance and her mother and father and they lived on a small farm in Wisconsin. On it there were 5 cats, 1 dog, 3 rabbits, 20 chickens, and 2 cows. They lived in a log cabin.
All was well, until one day Florance came running from the farm, where she had been feeding the chickens. Her mother calmed her down as she ran into the house, spilling some of the feed for the chickens.* Her mother asked what happened, and Florance said that Lady, one of their horses,** had been stolen. So had her child. “Well, they probably came during the night because it’s only eight-o-clock,” said her mother. But the question was, how had he gotten there without the alarm going off?
Florance’s mother ran to the telephone, and hired Wolfgang De Macho,*** a great detective. When he arrived, he went straight to the barn. He found the first clue: the key to the lock of the stall door. “Oh!” cried Mother, “It was probably Frank or Charles. They own this place really. I know how much they wanted Lady and her little horse. Perhaps you’d better question them.” So they went and found both of them.
First they questioned Charles. He said he knew nothing about it until today. Frank said, “I saw it happen. I was out in the fields when I saw a man. I got closer and then I saw Lady and her colt. I went right behind them, so close that I could probably touch Lady’s legs. I heard what the man said, and he said, ‘Steady girl, we don’t want someone to find us.’ The man was on Lady’s back, staring forward so he didn’t see me. Now let’s get the police and arrest him.”
“I don’t think so,” said the detective. “We’re going to arrest you.”
Frank had actually stolen Lady and the colt. Why? Because he never would have went behind Lady because if he did, Lady would have kicked him. That’s what happens when you go behind a horse. Frank went to jail.
*Nice dangling modifier.
**Why were the horses not mentioned in the list of the animals? Difficult to say.
***Best detective name ever, if I do say so myself.